For a pic about sex, Personal Services is remarkably unerotic. It deals with society’s two-faced attitude to sex-for-sale in a humorous but essentially sad way, and is excellently acted and directed. Film is based on a real madam who became a household name as a result of a trial in 1986.
Pic tells the story of the transition of Christine Painter (a dominating performance by Julie Walters) from waitress to madam of Britain’s most pleasant brothel, where the perversions are served up with a cooked breakfast and a cup of tea to follow. She looks after the aged and infirm along with eminent clients, none of whom has a kink her girls can’t cater to.
Julie Walters plays Christine as a charmingly vulgar yet benign madam, whose brothel-keeping career seemingly comes to an end when the police raid her London house during a Christmas party. At her trial she recognizes the judge as one of her regular clients.
Alec McCowen is excellent as her friend and business partner, a former pilot who proudly boasts of a World War II record of 207 missions over enemy territory in ‘bra and panties’.